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Salmon Duet


Image by Liz Bailey

Forty years ago, in a Newfoundland river,

I caught and killed an Atlantic salmon.
A hooking so elegant and a death so noble

That I became addicted to their pursuit.

But over decades their numbers shriveled,

blamed on netting, or on fish-eating birds,

or on seals, or on poachers, or on luck,

but rarely on climate and sportsmen.

I led hundreds of partners in death dances

in over twenty rivers before admitting that they should swim away as unharmed as stress and a torn mouth allowed.

But the salmon are dwindled far past
any help from my pyrrhic gesture
and the rivers run too warmly past me,

empty of the lives I’d treasured into death.

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

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